Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eh Hem - Employee Engagement Begins With The Employee

There are times when industry buzz words swarm around so much that every time you hear them, they begin to sting. For me, one of those is "employee engagement."

Most of what I see and hear relates to the employer's role in nurturing and maintaining it.  I see little if any commentary about the employee's role and effort.

As someone who works on both sides of talent management -- with companies and individuals the issue of employee engagement in my mind and experience, in general, is equally weighted.

However, ultimately I believe it is the responsibility of the employee to manage their own engagement! And...if your company is not communicating that message, you are enabling the very behavior and dependency you don't want!

Newsflash -- employees are grownups!  Now I know some of you think that's debatable, but really they are and need to be treated as such.  Grownups are and do take full responsibility for their own behavior, which includes the quality and contribution of their work -- engagement.

Did you know...
1. Managing personal motivation (e.i. engagement) is an element of emotional intelligence.
2. Engagement is a component of skill development.
3. Those committed to and invested in their own career development will be engaged.
4. Emotionally mature adults produce good work product in spite of not necessarily because of their boss, company environment, etc.
5. If someone genuinely enjoys their work, engagement is usually not an issue. (If enjoyment is weak, they may not be the best fit).

Please know the theme of this post does not in anyway release employers of their part in engagement by providing healthy cultures, competent managers, and more creative job design (3 significant contributors).  So how do you communicate this theme without appearing as if you're shunning your piece?

Well, one way is to provide employee training that empowers and encourages employee ownership. A theme by which to do that is personal branding. That theme is one of the seminars included our Individual Employee Core Competency series.  The very nature of the Brand Me! - The Power of Personal Branding in Career Success workshop is to convey the message that each employee is responsible for his/her work -- not only in what they do, but how they do it.

Additionally, personal branding takes a holistic view of one's career journey. It's not just about employment at any one single company, but rather, the collective choices made, the work done, accomplishments-achievements, skills acquired and skills yet to be developed.  It also incorporates branding themes of intentional perception and experiential impact.

When employees are encouraged to consider the way in which they do their work and how it will be perceived and received, it nurtures a deeper connection and more purposeful ownership to the work experience.

If you are an individual contributor, consider personal branding as you go through-out your workday and in your career management strategy.  If you are a decision-maker whose responsibility it is to influence company culture, then you'll want to include this philosophy and determine ways to effectively communicate it.

To learn more about the origins of personal branding being introduced into the career marketplace - read Tom Peter's article that first appeared in INC magazine - click here  |  Click here for his book

To learn more about the Individual Core Competencies Series which includes personal branding  - click here.

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness